MIT-3d-heart-1_0Due to the delicate nature of surgery, getting it right the first time round is extremely important because rarely is there ever a “restart” button. This is doubly important when it comes to organs like the heart, but now thanks to a group of researchers from MIT and Boston Children’s Hospital, getting ready for heart surgery will be easier.

Of course the actual procedure itself won’t be easy, but the researchers have successfully managed to 3D print models of hearts based on MRIs of their patients. What this means is that instead of just using a generic model, these 3D printed models will be specific to the patient that they are operating on.

This will allow surgeons to go through some practice runs on the 3D printed model before actually performing the surgery itself. This means that mistakes can be made that won’t cost the patient their life. According to Polina Golland, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT, she believes that this will provide a more intuitive way for surgeons to access and prepare for their patients.

Golland states, “Our collaborators are convinced that this will make a difference. The phrase I heard is that ‘surgeons see with their hands,’ that the perception is in the touch.” Golland also points out that this is much more efficient than before, where the older process could take as long as 10 hours, followed by another day or two of planning, versus this method which cuts the time down dramatically.

[Image credit – Bryce Vickmark]

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